I am a person who loves color. Color stirs strong feelings within me, both positively and negatively. I previously felt that neutral colors such as white, taupe, gray and black lacked the pop and pizazz I found with brilliant glorious saturated color. However, I started a remodeling project with a lovely couple that I had worked with previously. It was the project of a lifetime! They had some one come up to their old house and ask if they would consider selling the home to them. Out of the blue, they decided this might be their chance as empty nesters, to sell their large beautiful home and buy a smaller home suited to their new life. They loved the area that they lived in and within days of selling their home, they purchased a 35 year old white brick ranch. I was called to see if I would be interested in helping them once again…I jumped at the chance!
We walked through the home together. It had a sunked living and dining room, but when you first entered, there was a low slung catwalk overhead. To the right was a wall that enclosed the stairway to the catwalk and the upstairs bedroom and bath. I felt claustrophobic! The kitchen was small, angled and outdated. Then we proceeded down the hall to the two other bedrooms and baths. You looked straight into the Master bedroom, not desirable. The master bath was a large room, but had a sunken dark tub in front of huge full length window that opened to the front of the house and driveway. These were covered in heavy draperies, sheers and swags. I felt drunken just walking into this room….it was awful!!!
But there was no denying that this home had good bones! It was obvious the right couple purchased it because they knew the potential of this home. We set forth and nine months later, they moved in. That move in date was just last Thursday!!!! Now, getting to my point of using neutral palettes effectively….
I knew my client’s love of beiges mixed with some punctuated color. Being the designer I am, I always try to view the work through my client’s eyes. When I am finished, this must look just like the client. I channeled her love for the Benjamin Moore color, Linen. We knocked out two thirds of all the walls in the home, we carved out three additional bathrooms, we exposed the large vaulted main ceiling, we added architectural details in beams, bead board, huge crown moldings everywhere, interesting doors and hardware and the biggest change was changing all windows to the same height, style and made them black to offset all the neutrals. With fear but blind faith, my client went for the black windows. Today she claims that single element made this home because it is the framework that allows them to look out to a beautiful golf course.
So, I decided to use the neutral palette my client loved so much, while adding significant contrast to spark life and energy into the space. All moldings were painted marshmallow cream white, the beams were stained a rich dark fruitwood. We raised all floors to one height and laid rich one tone fruitwood stained planks. I then mixed beautiful bronze hardware with old golden brass. The closed in stairwell was completely removed, we opened all surrounding walls and designed a black metal open staircase that has three inch thick Alder wood stained steps and replaced busy railings with glass floating panels that allow you to see through. The staircase is in the center of the home and has become a structural art piece in its own right. Lastly, we appointed gorgeous, big lighting in all rooms…this is the jewelry of this home.
Now with this rich and neutral but contrasting palette, we are introducing punctuate color from area rugs, colorful tweeds upholstered to a few chairs, rich leathers, suedes, marble in all baths and lastly, beautiful art work in strategic spots. These featured photos were taken by me last Thursday as the furniture movers left the home. We have just started our prodding…stay tuned to final pictures as we place objects d’art, artwork, rugs, pillows, throws and all the personal items that make this house their home! Enjoy and please let me know what you think?!